The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a $6.4 million grant for the city of Los Angeles to hire 25 recent military veterans as police officers.
The grant money is a portion of $111.2 million awarded nationwide by the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, to hire 800 veterans. To be eligible, applicants must have served in a branch of the military for at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001.
Los Angeles received the largest grant in the nation. Two other Southland cities–Montebello and South El Monte–also received grants of $125,000 apiece to hire one officer.
The other two Southern California recipients are Chula Vista in San Diego County, which got $750,000 to hire six officers, and Hemet in Riverside County, which received $630,000 to hire three veterans for its police force.
The grants cover salary and benefits for the positions for three years.
“Since we got into office, the president and I have been committed to helping our returning heroes find jobs and transition back into civilian life,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement issued by the White House.
“A lot of them want to keep serving now that they’re back, and these COPS Grants help give them that chance.”
The annual Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants were previously aimed at helping police departments maintain officers in the face of budget cuts. President Barack Obama in February announced this year’s grants would go specifically to cities that hire new veterans.
“Today, we step up our support for recent veterans by offering them the chance to pursue meaningful careers in law enforcement,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “At a time of budget shortfalls, these grants will provide opportunities for much-needed, highly trained professionals with a proven commitment to service to continue their careers in communities all across the country.”